Parole & Statutory Release

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is statutory release?

    A federal offender is usually entitled to serve the last third of his or her sentence in the community under statutory release. The date is automatically set at the two-thirds point of the sentence. The purpose of statutory release is to allow offenders to reintegrate themselves into the community under supervision before their sentences expire. Offenders released under statutory release must comply with certain conditions under the supervision of a parole officer.

  • What happens if an offender breaches a condition of the statutory release?

    Failure to obey a condition could mean suspension and revocation of the statutory release. This could result in a return to prison. If the statutory release is revoked, 2/3 of the remaining sentence must be spent in prison, before a further release during the 1/3 of the remaining sentence.

  • How is parole different from statutory release?

    Parole is not an automatic process like statutory release. The National Parole Board has the discretion to grant or deny the release of any eligible inmate. Most offenders become eligible for full parole after serving 1/3 or seven years of their sentences. However, judges are able to lengthen the time certain violent offenders and serious drug offenders spend in prison by delaying the eligibility for parole until they have served 1/2 of their sentence. This is called judicial determination. It applies only where offenders have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of two years or more. Also, in certain circumstances, non-violent offenders may be granted full parole after 1/6 of their sentence.

  • What does the National Parole Board consider when deciding whether to grant parole?

    When considering any form of conditional release, the Parole Board conducts an investigation of:

      1. The details of the inmate’s criminal record, including the pattern and frequency of offences, any crime-free periods, and the nature and seriousness of the most recent offences;
      2. The inmate’s willingness to change his or her criminal behaviour including remorse and acceptance of responsibility, and any concrete action which has been taken in this regard;
      3. The inmate’s release plan, including employment opportunities, arrangements for accommodation, and community supports and resources; and
      4. The possible effects on the community if the inmate violates the parole conditions or commits another offence.
  • What sorts of conditions apply to someone who is put on parole or statutory release?

    A number of mandatory conditions apply to all persons who are on parole and statutory release:

      1. The inmate must travel directly to the place of residence indicated on the parole or statutory release certificate;
      2. The inmate must report to the parole supervisor immediately upon release and as instructed afterwards;
      3. The inmate must remain in Canada, obey the law and keep the peace;
      4. The parole supervisor is to be informed immediately as instructed if the inmate is arrested or questioned by the police;
      5. The inmate must report any changes in address, occupation, financial, domestic, or family situation and any change in their ability to comply with the terms and conditions of parole; and
      6. The inmate is not to own, possess, or have control of any weapon.

    In addition to these mandatory conditions, the inmate may have to obey some special conditions designed to control behaviour and encourage the successful completion of the period of supervision.

  • When can parole be suspended or revoked?

    Suspension of parole occurs because of a violation of the release conditions, conviction for a new offence, or because there are reasonable grounds to believe that the parolee is returning to criminal activity and is a risk to the public.

  • How are victims of crime involved in the parole process?

    Victims of crime are recognized in the federal corrections and parole process. They will be kept informed of an offender’s prison and parole status, if requested. Information from victims can be considered at a parole hearing at the discretion of the National Parole Board. Also, victims can apply for financial assistance to attend the Parole Board hearings of their offender.